Updated: Sep 27, 2020
What is an accidental? An accidental is a sharp (#), flat (♭), natural sign (♮), and various other symbols. An accidental affects the note it precedes in music notation. The accidental is written before the note in the staff or after the letter name, like F#.
A sharp (#) looks like a pound sign or hash tag, and what it does is raises the pitch (note) a half step. So if you look at piano keys, you will see white and black keys. If you were playing a white key (middle C) and needed to play C#, you would play the black key to the right of the white key.
A flat (♭) looks like a lower case b, and what it does is lowers the pitch (note) a half step. So if you were playing a white key on the piano (let’s use D – it is the white key to the right of C) and needed to play D♭, you would play the black key to the left of D.
A natural sign (♮), looks like an L attached to a 7. What the natural sign does is cancel out a sharp or flat. That means you would be playing a white key on the piano.
The black keys on the piano have one sound but 2 names. So a black key can be a sharp or a flat. A few white keys are the same, but we will save that for another time.
JOKE FOR THE DAY:
What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A flat minor